erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Monday August 05, 2019

Ng Joins Breitbart

Last week I read that David Ng, entertainment reporter for the LA Times, was hired by the right-wing propaganda site Breitbart.

First thought: Is that the guy who... 

Yes, that's the guy.

Two years ago, Ng wrote a piece in the Times whose headline says it all: “In liberal Hollywood, a conservative minority faces backlash in the age of Trump.” I wrote a response for Salon a few days later mostly attacking the notion of a liberal McCarthyism or a liberal Hollywood blacklist—notions perpetuated by right-wing propaganda sites like ... Breitbart.

And now the writer of that Times article is with Breitbart. Shocked, shocked.

He's written often of the Breitbart. Such as here in late Nov. 2016: Breitbart News sees advertisers exit, calls Kellogg's decision ‘un-American’

The ickiness is really in pretending they‘re not doing what they’re doing; that they‘re legit. Like this: 

“I’ve always been drawn to publications that have an iconoclastic voice and that challenge the orthodoxy on both sides of the political spectrum. Breitbart is definitely that,” says Ng. “It's hard to overestimate the impact that Andrew Breitbart has had on our current political and cultural climate, and I'm excited to be part of that legacy.”

“Both sides.” Good god. 

“I'm excited to be part of that legacy.” Have fun with the white supremacists, David.

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Posted at 09:49 AM on Aug 05, 2019 in category Politics   |   Permalink  
Saturday July 27, 2019

Mitch McConnell Makes America Weak

These are the bills recently blocked by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell:

  • A bipartisan bill requiring Facebook, Google and other Internet companies to disclose purchasers of political ads, to identify foreign influence.
  • A bipartisan bill to ease cooperation between state election officials and federal intelligence agencies.
  • A bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on any entity that attacks a U.S. election.
  • A bipartisan bill with severe new sanctions on Russia for its cybercrimes.

Astonishing. Even in the age of Trump, it's astonishing. And worrying. Legitimately worrying. It's from Dana Milbank's piece, “Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset,” in The Washington Post. Milbank argues even if McConnell isn't a spy he might as well be; he's doing so much dirty work for Putin. He's doing what he can to leave American elections open to foreign influence.

And his stated rationale? For a fifth bill that would earmark $600 mil to the states to provide paper ballot backups? “It's just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia.”

I assume the real rationale is this: He doesn't think Trump and the Republicans can win without foreign influence. So he's inviting it. To keep power.

Add it to the list. The GOP already can't win without any the following:

  • Dark money
  • Gerrymandering
  • Election suppression
  • Right-wing propaganda (FOX, Rush, Sinclair, Breitbart, et al.)

And now:

  • Foreign, enemy influence

McConnell has fought for all of the above. He's put party above country. I have no words for what an un-American scumbag he is. I would need David Simon's lexicon to nail it properly.

But look at that list. Look at that undemocratic list. 

We need to get rid of both of these fuckers in 2020. For the sake of the country.

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Posted at 10:27 AM on Jul 27, 2019 in category Politics   |   Permalink  
Tuesday July 23, 2019

Best. Photo. Ever.

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Posted at 06:52 PM on Jul 23, 2019 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Franken Revisited

Yesterday I read Jane Mayer's most recent feature for The New Yorker, “The Case of Al Franken,” and it was like revisiting those turbulent days in late 2017 but with context added. With fact-checking. Imagine. It's the quiet after the storm and we‘re looking around to see what got damaged. What we damaged.

To me, what happened to Sen. Al Franken still looks like a right-wing political hit job, but it was the left—both the mob and the establishment—that, like idiots, pulled the trigger. 

LeeAnn Tweeden was the first woman to level charges. (She was also the object of Franken’s mock breast-grab photo.) Turns out, some of her charges aren't charges: Franken didn't write the “kissing sketch” for her—he'd performed it on several USO tours with different actresses; and he didn't send the breast-grab photo to just her, as a final taunt, as alleged; it was part of the CD from the photographer that everyone got. In both instances, she made it about her but it wasn't about her. Her ties to right-wing radio and right-wing personalities like Sean Hannity were known at the time but ignored by the mob. Everything else in the accusation is he said/she said. It's “I found him gross” vs. “I thought we were pals.” 

The other charges are almost all of the “He was coming to kiss me” or “At the photo op, his hand got too close to my ass” variety. Apparently Franken was a social mouth kisser. His staff warned him about it in 2007 and he supposedly backed off. Nevertheless, that, and the photo, ended his political career—one that was helping many, many people. Just not the Sean Hannitys of the world.

Some of the most tone-deaf lines in the piece come from his accusers:

Not long ago, I asked the woman if she thought that Franken had been making a sexual advance or a clumsy thank-you gesture. 

“Is there a difference?” she replied.

Then there's this from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the first of his Senate colleagues to call for his resignation ahead of an actual investigation:

She acknowledged that the accusations against Franken “were different” from the kind of rape or molestation charges made against many other #MeToo targets. “But the women who came forward felt it was sexual harassment,” she said. “So it was.”

There's no difference. They felt it so it was. Good god. The #MeToo movement is doomed if these are the people holding its standard. If you‘re leading a moral movement, you can’t be less than moral yourself. Otherwise, why should anyone listen to you? And this is the opposite of that. Do they know how awful they sound? How tone-deaf? 

You know what I want? I want the Al Franken of the SNL days, of the “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” days, to wake up and start skewering people. Nobody was better at it. And what does he have to lose? At this point, nothing. 

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Posted at 07:51 AM on Jul 23, 2019 in category Politics   |   Permalink  
Monday July 15, 2019

The ‘Go Back’ Tweet

It's tough to keep track of all the POTUS norms—let alone civic and civil norms—that Donald Trump is upending. Hope someone not me has a spreadsheet on all of it. 

Sunday we got another egregious example. He tweeted about four women in Congress: “Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three were born in the U.S.; the fourth was born in Somalia but raised here. All are women of color.

Here's a good, quick response from Charles Pierce of Esquire that nails it:

Then the lies about the tweet—of the “You didn't read what you just read” variety—began:

The legit media have been their usual tepid selves, saying the tweet was “denounced as” racist rather than was racist—as if reality were a partisan issue. Longtime Fox idiot Brit Hume chimed in, saying while the tweet was xenophobic, et al., it wasn't racist, but he was quickly schooled by U.S. Rep Ted Lieu:

And so it goes. Ad naseum. Hope someone's keeping track of it all.

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Posted at 11:38 AM on Jul 15, 2019 in category Politics   |   Permalink  
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